Let the Fun Begin: Poage Landing Days Kicks Off Friday

Grace Philips

The Ashland Beacon


   Each year on the third weekend in September, the visitors to downtown Ashland swells by as much as 30,000 in number for Poage Landing Days.  It has been designated as one of the top 25 Downtown Festivals in the State of Kentucky by the Kentucky Main Street Program.   Since its beginning in 1990 the festival has grown to a three-day/five-block event.  The event began as a way to honor the founding family of Ashland…the Poage Family and to showcase Ashland’s rich heritage in the community where it was originally called “Poage Landing”  There is something for everyone…nonstop music on two stages, crafts, vendors, food, children’s activities, and even a stunt circus this year.  The fun and festivities gets underway Friday, September 16 at noon and will run through Sunday, September 18 at 6 p.m.  

   Christy Meade is in her sixth year as president of the event. “We try to look at what works, what needs improvement, what can we add to make the community’s experience more enjoyable each year.” She goes on to say, “For me it’s about what can we provide to our community for free.  Not everyone can afford expensive show tickets but one weekend a year the Poage Landing Days Festival can give them an opportunity to come downtown listen to some great music, watch this year’s show and enjoy the festival atmosphere.”

   New to the festival for 2022 is an Artist Demonstration Area located on Broadway Square.  This will feature a number of different artists throughout the weekend sharing their talents with festival-goers.  The Children’s Pageant will also be held on Broadway Square this year on Saturday from 3-5 p.m. with onsite registration at 2 p.m. 

   If you love music, then Poage Landing Days is the place to be.  There will be two stages this year.  The Armstrong Stage, located on Winchester Avenue, will feature the best in local and regional bands each day.  The 16th Street Stage is located between Winchester and Greenup Avenues on 16th Street.  If you are a wrestling fan, FTC Wrestling will be at this stage on Friday night.   

   Pam Tillis will headline the festival this year.  She has sold more than seven million records and boasts six No. 1 radio hits to her credit.  Her signature song “Maybe It Was Memphis,” has proven to be timeless. “It’s a hard thing to put your finger on,” she said, describing the enduring appeal of “Memphis.” “It’s a great melody and a cinematic lyric. It’s romantic, but it rocks. And it’s a great vocal vehicle.” Not only did Country fans agree, so have several other aspiring artists. Contestants on both American Idol and The Voice have used the song to showcase their talents.  “In many ways this part of my career is more fun because it feels like the pressure’s off,” says the CMA Female Vocalist winner. “I feel much more relaxed and I can just enjoy the journey a little bit more.”  Pam Tillis will take the stage at 9 p.m. with Paul Pace opening the evening at 7:15 p.m.

   The craft tent has long been a favorite among attendees. This year there will be over 40 different crafters featured. Lory Scarberry has been working with the craft vendors since 2015.  “Art prints by local artist, themed mini corn hole boards, wreaths, wood crafts, hair bows,….all of these and many more will be found under the craft tent.  I love that you can shop for every holiday from Halloween to Christmas”   Lory says for her personally she is most excited to see the crafters again.  “The BEST people are those that put their soul into what they do and you see that through every booth you shop.”  

   Items in the craft tent are all handmade by local and regional crafters.  However, there will be many other vendors lining the street during the weekend.  Christy Meade, Festival President reinforces the need to shop local. “The last few years have shown us the importance of supporting local small business.  When you attend a festival, buy something from a vendor that is there.  These vendors are local small businesses and depend on the community’s support.”

   One of Poage Landings' main priorities is family and children. At the end of the day it is all about family.  The main effort of the committee is to keep all family activities free for every child to enjoy.  This year the children’s activities will take place in the 1700 block of Winchester Ave.  A number of different amusement activities are planned for the children and will begin at noon on Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday Skateboarding is now very popular in the area.  The Southern Fried Cone Fest draws kids from all over the tristate and beyond.  You can watch them fly through a downhill ramp at 17th street as they compete for prizes. 

   The Cincinnati Circus! Our Big Circus Show is an astounding mixture of fun, comedy, agility, and skill. It features Stilt Walkers, Jugglers, Magicians, Fire Eating, and Aerial Acrobatics on a Flying Trapeze! All of this is in the hands of the Ringmaster who takes you from one amazing talent to the next! We even have a Wheel of Destiny, Chair Stacking Show, and Trampoline Wall!!! We have all the great Circus acts!  You can see the Cincinnati Circus Stunt Show Saturday and Sunday in the 1700 Block Parking Lot beside Retina Associates and the Henry Clay Building.  There will be a number of shows each day.  

   An event of this size takes a dedicated committee and group of volunteers to be successful.   It is not an easy job, but one that is very fulfilling to see everything come together.  In closing, Meade says, “this would not be possible with the support from local business sponsors and the City of Ashland. We are totally funded by these contributions.  Their support is what brings Ashland alive for these 3 days in September.”  

   Bring your family and spend the weekend with old friends, make some new ones, and experience what downtown Ashland has to offer.  For a complete schedule of events and additional information you can check out the festival’s website poagelandingdays.com. 

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